This month I want to take a closer look at Facebook as a part of your marketing strategy. I talked to Tracey Warren, owner of Ready, Set, Grow Marketing (www.readysetgrowmarketing.com). She also teaches a social media marketing certificate program at Shoreline Community College. I asked her opinion on Facebook’s place in today’s marketing world. Her response: “You can’t argue with over a billion people. Facebook is where people are.”
Just because you’re hanging out where people are doesn’t mean you’ll get noticed. To be visible on Facebook — or any other social media site — you have to post regularly, and your posts have to be relevant to your target market. Success in social media requires not only effort, but a plan as well.
You’ve set up your accounts, tweaked your profile and started collecting friends and followers. But how often do you post? Once or twice a week? To be truly effective, you should be posting once or twice per day.
Posting that often sounds like a real time commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. Tracey suggests setting aside an hour or so each day to research and compose your posts. She pointed out a feature of Facebook business pages I was unaware of: scheduled posts. When you are adding a status to your page, you’ll notice a small icon at the bottom left corner of the status box. Hover your cursor over it and you get an option to schedule your post rather than posting it immediately. You can get a week’s worth of content queued up in no time.
Regular posting is essential. Not only will your fans lose interest if you don’t post frequently, so will the search engines. Posting cute pictures and cartoons is fine for your personal account. When posting on behalf of your business, you need to engage your followers with relevant content. So what makes your content relevant?
When you created your website, you probably created a list of keywords that are used to attract visitors to your site via search engines like Google, Bing, etc. These keywords should be spread liberally throughout your site and on all your marketing materials. These keywords need to show up in your social media posts as well.
For example, a massage therapist might use keywords like relaxation, pain relief, deep tissue, flexibility and so on. With keywords in mind, it’s easy to build a post around these. The massage therapist could then write: “Did you know regular massage is good for more than relaxation? Deep-tissue massage can also relieve pain and increase flexibility.”
Aside from keywords, there’s another aspect of content that needs to be considered. While providing information in your posts is important, it’s critical that you engage your audience. Your content should be structured in such a way that anyone reading it will want to comment on it and/or share it with their friends. A great way to get people to comment is to ask an open-ended question. My massage therapist could ask, “What’s your favorite benefit of massage?”
To inspire sharing, my favorite approach is to post a warning about the latest computer virus or Internet scam. If your business is a little more low key, posting an interesting fact about your business or industry is effective. My massage therapist could post something like, “Did you know I work on your body’s largest organ, the skin?”
One final thought on content. It doesn’t have to be all about you. Post congratulations to colleagues, recognize the achievements of friends and employees, or talk about events you will be attending. Be sure to use tags to increase visibility. This will ensure the person, business or event you’re posting about knows you are talking about them everyone loves to read about themselves, and they’re likely to share and comment.
A great idea for keeping your content fresh is to use Google Alerts. Simply go to google.com/alerts and start setting up notifications for topics relating to your business, people you want to follow and even keywords and phrases you find interesting. As Tracey told me, in social media, “You need to leap out, not just stand out.” Be careful, though. The Internet is a big place! You might find yourself deluged with notifications. You can always cancel alerts, but I’d start slowly and work your way up.
If you have questions or want to discuss how social media can work for you, or if you have suggestions for future columns, visit my Facebook page at facebook.com/byteslavescomputing.
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